More Ann Dee Ellis 8-Minute Memoirs.
Eight was a good year. I turned eight in June of 1994 and I spent the first two weeks of the month planning my birthday party and baptism. I don't remember the particulars of the party, but I remember my baptism like it was yesterday. Plenty of people came to our house from my family and from our congregation. I sang a song about rainbows and rebirth and my father and I dressed in white and met in the backyard where he dunked me into our pool the way we had practiced for weeks.
Coming out of the water I felt more beautiful and perfect than I ever had. I knew I'd done the right thing, and now I got to celebrate with my favorite things--cake and Mexican food from Las Golondrinas (a restaurant that I still visit every time I'm in Southern California).
That was when we lived in San Juan Capistrano. Behind our house was the huge park where I played soccer every summer of my young life, a sport that holds a special place in my heart despite plenty of hours spent playing with my hair or the grass as the ball rolled right by me.
We were only a few minutes from the beach, and I was old enough to go out to the pool by myself sometimes. As long as my parents knew where I was and I took one of the cordless phones out with me so they could beep it to get my attention quickly at any time. It probably wasn't as perfect as I remember, few things are, but those moments out in the pool by myself--no siblings asking questions or parents demanding my attention--were some of the most precious memories I have. I've always loved spending time with people (and growing up with four younger siblings, you get used to it), but it wasn't until those hours I spent alone in my backyard that I realized how much I also loved being by myself.